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A Cookbook of Memories

Cookies, Bars and Candy

Every memory I have of PCTC is a good one but I want to share the experience of my first time at PCTC. I had wanted to go to PCTC for a long time. I remembered my mom making a quilt for PCTC when I was in CGIT.

The first time I attended an event at PCTC I walked in the door of the main building and I was overcome with a sense of belonging combined with anticipation. Later when I went to my assigned room, there on the bed was the patchwork quilt with all the familiar prints on the bed. I knew I had come home.

Laura Thomson, Regina, former PCTC staff

My favorite memory of PCTC is a Grandmothers gathering in the wintertime. Shortly after everyone arrived the air was filled with huge flakes of very wet snow. Nobody was unduly concerned as we were staying overnight. Throughout the day of sharing, we experienced stories of resentment, anger, love, anxiety, helplessness, and understanding.

After a bountiful supper and social time, Ruth announced she would drive grandmothers up to the Manitoba dorm. That’s what started the hilarity. Ruth packed the car with people and luggage and proceeded up the hill – HALF-WAY! She backed down and tried three more times and then Louise said "My car can do it!" Amidst much laughter and teasing the women were once again in a car going up the hill – ALL THE WAY! As the car reached the dorm there were shouts of "Bravo!," "Good show!" Louise zoomed back down and loaded again, repeating this three more times while the hills echoed with shouts of laughter and encouragement.

Next morning was an exchange of more laughter and teasing along with great food. Later, as we prepared to leave we agreed that a big step had been taken toward building bridges of understanding, respect and friendship with our First Nations and Metis sisters, and that PCTC was the perfect place for this to happen.

Mildred Wotherspoon, Melville, SK

Nestled in the beautiful Qu'Appelle hills is a most remarkable, inviting, peaceful, spiritual, soul lifting and refreshing dwelling – PCTC.

It is not just one experience there that remains outstanding, but each visit holds a treasure of memories, especially UCW days.

When you arrive you are warmly greeted by staff and others who are seeking as you are new ideas, understanding and fellowship, as you mix and mingle with them. How can we say thank you adequately to those who envisioned PCTC 50 years ago? It is truly a place of renewal and relaxation. May PCTC continue to be such a blessing for years to come.

Ruth Schick, Nipawin, SK

I have happy memories having attended 2 sessions during past years and both were enriching experiences. Four of us from David United Church attended the first one with Rev. Walter Farquharson – a very inspiring session.

The last session was on journalling, where I learned how to improve mine, which I have kept up through the years. During that time I met a dear lady, Irene Teece. We shared a room and ideas both in journalling and our interest in art.

It was a special privilege for me to be able to attend those sessions. It proved a wonderful experience for me, having gained more knowledge, as well as more confidence and self-esteem. The fellowship and food was always great too! I’ve always loved the location of PCTC in the beautiful Qu’Appelle Valley. Whenever Jack and I stopped at the Centre to and fro my home town Cupar, we always received a warm welcome.

Wishing you God’s richest blessings for continued good training in the future. 

Donalda Whetter, Hartney, MB

While I did not attend any of the programmes offered at PCTC I did visit there one time about 20 years ago. I was the guest of Dorothy Fleming (one time matron of the girls residence at Teulon). I thought it was a very attractive facility, and you are certainly situated in a beautiful area of Saskatchewan.

Laura Campbell, Teulon, MB

My memories of PCTC go back to the winter of 1963-64, when I attended the winter course as a 17 year old farm kid, desperately lonely. I remember waiting for the mail to come in, and sending for every freebie I could, just so there'd be something there! I remember working with clay under the friendly direction of David Ross, and trying unsuccessfully to work the wheel! I remember curling in the Fort Qu'Appelle mixed draw, and the night that a new fellow joined us after having a fellow collapse on the ice sheet beside me. The new fellow rushed from the waiting room where he was watching us, and tried to give him artificial respiration. He'd had a heart attack and died on the spot. Then the new fellow went into an epileptic seizure (the first of many we witnessed). The young RCMP constable called to the scene was angry because my team-mates took the time to throw the stones from the far end up to the home end before obeying his order to get off the ice area.

Then there was the 5 day practice teaching event at Lakeview in Regina for the "New Curriculum," requiring a daily drive and navigating Victoria Street with what seemed like ruts a foot deep! Serving at a banquet for an outside group to make a bit of money, I was terrified I'd dump a cup of hot coffee down somebody's neck with my shaky hands (I was a lot more self-conscious in those days.) I remember my painful shyness being mistaken for snootiness (learned about that at the "Group Dynamics Lab" late in the winter.) And I remember racing to the library to find a book on table graces when my team had to do supper duty - we'd never said grace at home. I also remember our principal, Milton Little, I believe his name was, telling us late in the year that the guest leader coming soon would give us a "proper" course on God, the one he'd given us being not acceptable in the eyes of some! And I remember an argument over whether we were born sinful or pure! The book room carried copies of Barclay's commentaries and Bishop John Robinson's controversial books.

Then there was the time the morning worship leader didn't show and the principal did it on the spot - I thought I could never do that! The night we raided the girls dorm I won’t get into! (Was it the Flin Flon CGIT visiting?) My friendships with Gary the housekeeper, Carol the cook, and Maureen in the office, I will never forget. Pizza after the meeting downtown, hill climbing, doing a PCTC promo at the Saltcoats Charge with the youthful Joan and Walter Farquharson hosting us - the list goes on and on.

Years later I spent many days at PCTC at meetings, especially Division of Mission. I remember highly competitive "four square" games (recently taught my Scouts and they love it!) PCTC was the place I met the late William Stringfellow, and with my wife got an eye opener on the Book of Revelation. I also met former moderator Bruce McLeod, and the man who baptised me decades before, Gordon Toombs. Many other courses have come and gone, some very moving and influential, rarely dull. I've been introduced to much great music there, as well as many worship ideas, intriguing people, etc. Quite a few tears have been shed, and much laughter has gone into making it such a special place. I have quite a few pictures, some of the earlier days, lots of the Nicaragua trip two years ago, and now of the Spong event.

The recipes I cannot share as I don't have any, but the food of course has been consistently a highlight. There's just nothing with which to compare it!

W. Alan Porter, Melville, SK

My sister Jessie (Tumbull) Woodhouse took part in one of your early winter programs. I remember one of her letters telling me about all the painting she had done that day. She was so tired but happy. I think a staircase was involved. She found that experience of winter session at P.C.T.C. to be a pivotal point in her life. I'm so glad she had it. This month marks the 17th anniversary of her death at a far too young age.

I knew those staircases well myself having trod them more times than I can count over the years. To my mind P.C.T.C. has always been on the "cutting edge". I hope it always continues to be there. The people I met there over the years and the sessions I was involved in certainly helped me to grow and hang in there when there was not a great deal of support from my surrounding community for radicals??? such as I. Nor, I am sorry to say, from the churches I have been involved with for the most part, although I have had the good fortune to meet fellow travellers (both clergy and laity) in said churches who have inspired and sustained me too, and I hope I was able to return at least a little of that support to them and others I have met on this life journey.

I moved from Manitoba this past summer to a whole new world here on Vancouver Island. What fun in my golden years (don't be fooled - sometimes they're not so golden where the body’s concerned) to be able to experience a different province, climate, way of seeing the world beyond this island. Quite different indeed. I feel fortunate to have such an opportunity.

Nonetheless I will always be a prairie person and give thanks that I'm firmly rooted in prairie soil even though the roots have had to spread a long way. I also give thanks to you folk at the Fort Qu'Appelle Prairie Christian Training Centre and your supporters for bringing so much of value and richness into my life.

Blessings on you all. May 2001 be a rewarding and fun year for you and all who enter your welcoming doors. May your welcome and love for the life of all on this planet extend throughout this new century.

With many happy memories and much thanks,

May Turnbull Deller, Victoria B.C.


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Box 159, Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan Canada S0G 1S0
Phone: 306-332-5691 Fax:306-332-5264
Email: office@callinglakes.ca